Dear reader, this is my penultimate weekly article writing for you. Unfortunately success with my business means that I have more demands on my time and have to give up some activities even those that I thoroughly enjoy such as this column.
Based on a poll on my Facebook page a regular reader suggested I write an article summarizing all the ways in which one can attain financial freedom. This as you know is not a small topic and as such requires two articles.
First, let's define financial freedom so we are all on the same page. If you can stop working today and have enough income coming through from all your investments to sustain your lifestyle – you have financial freedom. I would add that if you can attain that with a mere half-day of work per week then you are pretty financially free also!
Most people will never attain this. They will struggle daily until the day they die. It is sad but unfortunately true. The difference between enjoying financial freedom and remaining a life-long member of the rat race is strategy coupled with action.
I know some are thinking this is completely unrealistic for the poorest of the poor but I personally do not believe that to be true. Poverty makes it a lot more challenging, yes, but people who have worked their way out of poverty show it is more than possible. What makes it less possible is that many people limit their thinking to their current circumstances. They can’t conceive a life different to what they have and it’s a fact of life that if you can’t conceive it in your mind, you almost certainly will not achieve it in reality.
We now live in a world where you can make money from a wide variety of activities.
A lot of Malawians remain stuck thinking that just because they live in Malawi they can only make a living or grow a business based on the local market. When we have ideas they are usually agricultural based because that is the resource that we see as being readily available. This is natural, however, in this article I will dare to allow you to think that the world market is your oyster. I dare you to think that a girl or guy in Turkey, Russia, Indonesia or Australia is out there waiting to buy your product.
So what businesses or avenues can you use as a platform toward financial freedom?
Make something. Something for us to eat, wear, be entertained by or look at. It's a lot cheaper than you think to conceive an idea and make it a reality. If it's a machine that you need then China and India are waiting to make the machine for you.
In addition to the internet hosting the likes of Facebook and Twitter you will also find e-commerce sites for people that want to source products, for example alibaba.com.
How many times in the last year have you paid alibaba.com a visit and toyed around with either buying a machine or getting a ready-made product manufactured and sent to you?
Something for you to do tonight: go to alibaba.com and start surfing the site. Look at all the different machinery and products you can procure; contact a few manufacturers for pricing. It costs you nothing and it will help you to start thinking about your possibilities.
Writing on its own does not make you rich. The authority that you gain from writing prolifically is what leads to wealth. Even if you are covering a topic that has been covered a multitude of times by other writers, they weren't you. You can put your own spin on anything.
However, what sort of writing gets a large following? Common interest topics: beauty, hair, makeup, fashion, sex, life stories.
I know many of us may not consider these genres as “professional”. Perhaps mummy or daddy always wanted you to do law, medicine, economics or some other such thing.
Well, if it’s your parents or society at large you would like to impress then you should go for a more esoteric topic. There will definitely be an audience for your writing but a much smaller one.
The smart thing to do would be to put a common interest spin on a “professional” topic. For instance, write about how people get screwed over in divorce proceedings to develop a following that buys your services as a lawyer. If you can digest the legalese of a divorce case into a sensational, easy-to-read story, you are on to a winner. Write about hospital horrors you know about to attract patients or buyers for a medical product that you sell.
The writing creates authority and people like to purchase from authority figures.
To get a serious following quickly write at least six times a week. And continue writing that much for at least 12 months. Syndicate your writing via the social networks.
I will discuss two more avenues to financial freedom in next week’s edition, my final article.
“The interesting thing is: if you do it for love, the money comes anyway” – Richard St. John
For inspirational quotes follow @Getting2Wealthy on twitter.
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For 2 years until early 2014 I wrote a weekly personal finance and business column for Malawi's leading media house, The Times Group. The target is middle-class, working African women.
This is a reproduction of the articles that appeared in the weekend edition of Malawi News.